EMT License Requirements: How to Become an Emergency Medical Technician in Oklahoma

Oklahoma Emergency Medical Technicians are licensed by the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH). EMTs must pass approved courses and then complete cognitive and practical skills examinations. Education and examination are based on national standards.

Oklahoma has transitioned from issuing ‘EMT-Basic’ credentials to issuing EMT credentials. This is in keeping with the standards and trends at the national level.

The EMT credential is the foundation for higher level credentials such as Advanced Emergency Medical Technician, or AEMT.

Select an Oklahoma EMT Topic:

Educational Standards

EMS providers must attend state-approved programs. In Oklahoma, initial programs at the EMT level are most often hosted by technology centers. However, other settings are possible.

The curriculum is based on the most current set of national standards. A curriculum guide is available on the OSDA website; programs are, as of 2016, following the 2011 guidelines (https://www.ok.gov/health/Protective_Health/Emergency_Systems/EMS_Division/Education/index.html). The curriculum guide gives an approximation of how many hours will be devoted to different topics such as trauma and assessment. However, as the new standards are competency-based, the actual timeframe is variable. The estimated didactic training time is 216 hours; this includes 140 classroom hours and 76 laboratory hours. The student can also expect to do 36 hours of clinicals. Time spent in the emergency department and time spent working with an ambulance service are both credited.

The guide includes a breakdown of skills that EMTs are expected to perform with 100% accuracy.

Oklahoma’s training, licensure, and protocol examiner has also provided information about pass rates on the national certification examination (https://www.ok.gov/health/Protective_Health/Emergency_Systems/EMS_Division/Education/index.html). Interested individuals can click on the year to see first-time pass rate and cumulative pass rate by school. Overall, Oklahoma programs at the EMT level were slightly below the national average in 2015; this was the case both for students who passed on a first attempt and those who passed at some point during the examination and re-examination process.

Examination Requirements

A prospective EMT will go through a two-part examination process that also results in national certification. The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) awards certification to otherwise qualified candidates who pass both a state-approved practical examination and a standardized national examination.

Candidates typically receive information about the practical examination from their programs.

The prospective certificate holder will need to create a National Registry account before registering for cognitive examination. Authorization cannot be granted until the program confirms that all course requirements have been met. An approved candidate will be issued an ATT that is valid for 90 days. The candidate will contact Pearson VUE to schedule. The exam is computer-delivered.

Re-examination is allowed, although there are some limits placed.

The Application Process

Application forms can be downloaded from the OSDA website (https://www.ok.gov/health/Protective_Health/Emergency_Systems/EMS_Division/EMS_Personnel_Licensure_-_Registration_-_Certification/index.html). EMT applicants use the personnel license application.

A completed application file includes documentation of National Registry certification.

Applicants pay a total of $85 in fees at the basic EMT level.

The applicant must sign a statement that he or she understands the mandate to be under medical control while practicing as an EMT. The licensing agency also requires documentation of lawful presence within the United States.

Generally speaking, applications are to be mailed to OSDH Emergency Systems in Oklahoma City. The Emergency Systems office does accept walk-in applications but cautions that it is no longer possible to leave with license in hand.

Advanced EMT Requirements

Many Oklahoma EMTs pursue additional training so that they can perform limited advanced skills. Some hold licensure that is based on a previous set of national standards: Intermediate 85. Oklahoma has chosen to maintain this license category. Some EMTs, though are transitioning to a newer classification: AEMT.

Oklahoma has put together a recommended curriculum for AEMT courses. A student at this level can expect approximately 97 classroom hours, 83 lab hours, and 140 clinical hours. A student who already holds credentialing at the intermediate level may complete a much shorter transition course. The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians has set the minimum at 36 hours. Some EMT-Is will need additional prerequisites such as National Incident Management Systems (NIMS) training.

The list of approved Oklahoma courses now includes initial courses at the AEMT level. It also includes transition courses for those at the Intermediate 85 level.

Practical examinations at the AEMT level are delivered in a relatively standard manner around the country. In Oklahoma, they are coordinated by Career Tech. The candidate is allowed to register for the ALS psychomotor examination of his or her choice, but must first submit an Oklahoma application. It is necessary to have a National Registry account.

The initial examination fee is $160; this is paid at the time of application. Re-examination fees vary, depending on whether the candidate requires a full or partial retake.

The Oklahoma AEMT scope of practice includes some skills that may not be in the scope of practice in all locales; a reciprocity applicant will need to provide verification.

Renewal Requirements

Oklahoma requires EMTs to maintain their national certification, though EMTs who were licensed before this mandate took effect still have the option of renewing without national certification (https://www.ok.gov/health/Protective_Health/Emergency_Systems/EMS_Division/EMS_Personnel_Licensure_-_Registration_-_Certification/EMT_Renewal_Options/index.html).

Additional Information

Oklahoma Emergency Systems is under the banner of the State Department of Health (https://www.ok.gov/health/Protective_Health/Emergency_Systems/EMS_Division/index.html). Emergency Systems can be reached by telephone at (405) 271-4027 or by email at ‘ESytems at health.ok.gov’.

The Oklahoma EMT Association is an additional professional resource (http://oemta.org/). OAEMTA is not involved with the licensing process but can provided continuing education as well as information about happenings in the EMS industry.